Is there any material that can molecularly restructure so as to expand its intra- or inter-molecular distance by no less than three-fold without substantially losing its structural integrity and remain solid without substantial thermal change to the touch, say, other than during the expansion process by the use of electricity, electromagnetism, ultraviolet light, radio frequency, easily reversible chemical exposure, or any other effect other than substantial heat loss or increase?

A lower scale example would be water where if talking about actual H2O, it will freeze with substantial discharge on audible wavelengths at some −40 °C (not at 0 °C, only contaminated water freezes at 0 °C), however, in that case, water is in a much less dense structure than when contaminated. Theoretically one could contaminate and decontaminate water (plus heat refreeze) and change its density.

I am aware of no other molecular procedures that could achieve the same with the material being at room temperature before and after whatever affect it is subjected, and seeking to learn if we are aware of any.

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    $\begingroup$ No. $\ce{ }$ $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Oct 1, 2022 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron Why don't you post that as an answer? $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2022 at 4:31

1 Answer 1


I think you have some misconceptions as to what inter- and intramolecular forces do, and how an external factors contribute to a change in macroscopic properties. Intermolecular forces govern what phase some substance is in with stronger intermolecular forces meaning a substance remains a solid at higher temperatures. Forces can't be expanded or contracted.

Applying a voltage to some sample could change its chemical properties, but only slightly. A voltage could theoretically induce a chemical change making the substance less dense, and a high enough voltage will turn basically any substance into a plasma.

Also, you're going to need some substantial evidence for your clam that

H2O will freeze with substantial discharge on audible wavelengths at some -40 C° (not at 0 C°, only contaminated water freezes at 0 C°)

Water freezing requires a nucleation point, like any crystal, but most anything -- including container walls -- can act as this nucleation site. And substantial discharge on audible wavelengths? I've taken many chemistry courses, but never heard of this.

  • $\begingroup$ My understanding about intra- and extramolecular forces are so limited, indeed, that I merely assumed the existence of these concepts based on my limited understanding of chemistry — hence I asked the question. Thank you for the answer! $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2022 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ “And substantial discharge on audible wavelengths?” I remember this back form about 2012-‘13 where what, as now I learn, is called “nucleation” takes place. It was described as this sort of freezing taking place with robust noise or potentially if you contaminate water while on the way to nucleation below zero degrees Celsius? My recollection may fail me — feel free to fix as necessary. As you mention “theoretically” the question was thought experiment for me although with the hope of real life use. Before you answer my own was, also, that likely the forces would at least linearly reduce[…] $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2022 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ in inversely proportionate to the increase in distance between molecules, but potentially exponentially so even if somehow something remained solid despite being subjected to any hypothetical affects to expand, the sturdiness would reduce to such extent that the application needed for would not be served to sufficiency. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2022 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ At the molecular level, intermolecular forces are governed by the interactions of electrons a quantum mechanics. Yes, applying a voltage to some substance changes its properties (that's how electricity works), but I'd be hard pressed to say some material could operate in the way you described. If there was some clear relationship between applied voltage and material properties, it would take years, maybe even decades, of materials science research to engineer such a material. $\endgroup$
    – foo bar
    Oct 2, 2022 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity is somewhat related... $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2022 at 19:06

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